The deputy director and editor-in-chief of state-run Xinhua News Agency's branch in Anhui Province is said to have committed suicide Monday night.
Song Bin was found dead in his office on the evening of April 28. According to Xinhua sources, Song suffered from depression and had hanged himself. He left a suicide note. The news was reported by overseas Chinese media and later by web portals in China.
Song had been working at the Anhui Xinhua Branch for many years and became the deputy director and editor-in-chief in 2009.
String of Suicides
In light of a string of recent suicides by Chinese officials, some China analysts have expressed skepticism about whether Song’s death was by suicide.
Hua Po, a political observer based in Beijing, told NTD Television that Song “may have been involved in some complicated issue” and was “silenced.”
The last official who died under unusual circumstances was Li Wufeng, deputy director of the State Council Information Office. He died March 24 after falling from a building.
Subsequently, three officials of China Publishing Group were sacked. Shen Weichen, deputy minister of propaganda was investigated on April 12. Gao Jianyun, deputy director of the Foreign Propaganda Office, was detained and interrogated on April 18.
A number of other Anhui officials have also been detained for interrogation recently, including Jiang Shan, the Chuzhou Municipal Committee secretary.
NTD cited unnamed sources who suggested that Song Bin’s death may be related to the investigation of former Anhui Provincial Party Committee propaganda minister, Zang Shikai.
Prior to November 2011, Zang Shikai had been a Standing Committee member in Anhui, and the minister of Anhui Provincial Propaganda Department. After that, he became the deputy director of the Standing Committee of Anhui National People’s Congress. Analysts speculate that Zang Shikai will soon be investigated, NTD said.
Wang Beiji, a current affairs commentator, told NTD that with several propaganda officials being investigated or dying mysteriously, it is likely that the Party is now targeting the propaganda system in its anti-corruption campaign, purging officials considered politically unreliable, or actually corrupt.
*Image of "Xinhua website" via Shutterstock